Sales of home electrical appliances at big retailers totaled 2.46 trillion yen in 2002, down 8.5 percent from a year earlier for the second consecutive year of decline, the Nippon Electric Big-Stores Association said in a preliminary report Monday.

The association blamed the fall largely on slumping sales of personal computers, which make up a large share of the market.

“Even yearend sales were sluggish because of weak personal consumption and price-cutting competition,” an association official said, adding that monthly sales of PCs stayed below the year-before levels throughout the year.

PC sales slipped 21.6 percent in 2002 from the previous year, printers and other peripherals fell 11.8 percent, and air conditioners declined 16.4 percent.

Sales of videocassette recorders dropped 19.3 percent, while DVD recorders expanded 77.5 percent

Sales of television sets grew 2.7 percent due to strong demand for TVs with plasma screens and liquid crystal displays.

In December alone, sales of home appliances amounted to 266.63 billion yen, down 6.5 percent from a year earlier, the association said.

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